The morality of flying

Caveat: We’re one bottle of wine into a two-bottle evening.

I was chatting to a really wonderful friend-of-a-friend tonight. She runs a really cool-sounding consultancy that does corporate psychology mixed with reducing a company’s environmental footprint. Searching for the ultimate win-win of happy people, happy planet I guess.

I mentioned my upcoming trip to the US, and subsequent trip to the UK. Some of what I’m doing is talking about uses of technology to advance environmental and social causes, particularly carbon neutrality (or my preferred initiative, carbon/consumption benefit). And she immediately shot back with: “I take it you’re flying there? Why not do it remotely via the Internet?”.

I have no reasonable response to that. To be honest, I like travelling. I really, really do. Immersion in another culture, meeting new people, creating new opportunities and generally just breaking the old routine. It’s fun, it’s cool, I like it.

This whole conversation made me feel like a complete self-indulgent asshole. Which I admit, to a degree, I am. So what to do? How does Al Gore justify flying (if, indeed, he doesn’t come by boat or just teleport using the US’s poorly-hidden inventory of clearly alien technology).

To be frank: How does one reconcile taking a plane flight to educate people about reducing pollution, when flying is one inefficient-ass way of moving about?

Is it morally equivalent to shooting one innocent person in the head on the way to a conference on the reduction of gun violence? Hey, they were in the way! I needed to get to the conference!

Mood: ashamed

(with apologies to Livejournal)

2 thoughts on “The morality of flying

  1. brent

    you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette.

    you reconcile it by saying that consumer flying won’t be around for much longer so you might as well enjoy the benefits while there’s still dinosaur-juice to be found. If you don’t squander it some other fucker will.

    plant some trees if you’re upset about the carbon in the atmosphere. although the plane will still fly without you – so don’t get too upset.

    but yes. this act is in the category of justifiably hypocritical.


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